EC to discuss poll manifestos guidelines issue with parties

Election Commission will convene meeting of political parties to formulate its opinion on proposed guidelines on poll manifestos announcing freebies against backdrop of Supreme Court ruling.

New Delhi: The Election Commission will convene a meeting of political parties next month to formulate its opinion on the proposed guidelines on poll manifestos announcing freebies against the backdrop of the Supreme Court ruling in this regard.
Though the EC is preparing a background note on the issue, it is finding it difficult to formulate a clear policy on defining freebies announced by parties in their manifestos.

Sources say EC has started consultations on the issue of framing guidelines for poll manifestos announced by parties ahead of polls, but is finding it difficult to define `freebies`.

"While a poll promise may be considered a freebie in one state, it may not be considered as one in another," said a senior official, adding that some government may claim that it is a welfare measure which it is supposed to take of the poor.

Political parties have been arguing that the grant of benefits by states are much required for welfare of the poor and to those who are unable to afford them.

"While a laptop to a poor student is considered a relief measure to help the poor get access to modern technology and be well educated, it may be considered a freebie for some in a rich state like Delhi," said another poll official.

The Commission has already sent a copy of the Supreme court judgement to recognised political parties for their information and firming up of views.

It has also started efforts to compile available views and practices on the subject adopted elsewhere in the world.

The Supreme Court while disposing of a special leave petition on July 5 challenging the freebies announced by Tamil Nadu government had asked the Election Commission to frame guidelines for such promises announced by political parties in their election manifestos.


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